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Intellect: New areas of IT expenditure brightening outlook for industry

Director general calls for government to catch up on use of automation

John Higgins, director general of supplier body Intellect, has expressed a positive outlook for the IT industry in the coming years.

Higgins told Computerworld UK that growing areas of investment, such as smart metering and 4G communications, were opening up opportunities for suppliers with relevant capabilities and were demonstrating that spending is gradually recovering.

Intellect has released its 'State of the sector' report into the industry, in which it noted a number of sectors were becoming "increasingly positive" about their outlook.

"Demand for software which has been pent up since [before the recession] in 2007 is now being released, helping the market to recover," Intellect stated.

A number of specialist areas, including the "low carbon economy", offered "huge" potential for the industry, Higgins said.

One of these was smart metering and smart grids, which would create major opportunities in networking, software, hardware and communications, he said. In addition, smarter cities would increasingly be developed, relying on crucial systems.

The financial services sector is seeing one of the largest recoveries in IT spending, he added, as previously planned projects were finally signed off and new regulatory demands led to the creation of fresh systems.

The adoption of software as a service was giving a major boost to spending, he said, branding it as "the single most important driver of growth for UK-based software vendors" in the coming years.

Higgins praised the government's statements of support for the IT industry, including for smaller suppliers, but said he hoped the public sector would do more to demonstrate this in practice. Too often it cut IT in order to save costs, instead of using technology to improve efficiency, he said.

"I am hopeful that the public sector will begin to break through the barrier too and begin to see that investing in digital technologies is one of the best ways of reducing operational costs," he said.

"There are massive steps to be made. Companies have known for years that you can take cost out by improving processing and using automation, but there's not enough of it in government in spite of some very good instances."

Policy changes in health, welfare and council delivery could also lead to substantial technology investment, he said.

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